Killing Mosquitoes with Sugar

Mosquitoes like blood, but they love sugar. A team of Israeli scientists are exploring how to use this sweet tooth against them:

We have all suffered the irritation of being the food source for hungry mosquitoes. While it is generally well known that female mosquitoes need a meal of blood before laying their eggs, less has been written about their appetite for sweet snacks between meals.

It is this diet of "sweets" - derived from nectar from flowers and nectaries on plant leaves and stems - that provide mosquitoes with their persistent energy.

Prof. Yosef Schlein and his co-researcher, Günter Müller, in the Department of Parasitology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School's Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, decided to exploit the mosquitoes' thirst for sweets to bring about their demise - by spraying acacia trees with a sugar solution that had been spiked with the oral insecticide Spinosad. This had the effect of eliminating almost the entire mosquito population in the oasis. The few mosquitoes that were trapped after spraying were thought to be newly emerging adults, and cumulative population growth was prevented by continuous effect of the insecticide. Thus, the oasis was completely depleted of its mosquito population.

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An important part of their strategy would seem to rely on the relatively small and isolated nature of an oasis.

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 18 Oct 2006 #permalink

I read the linked abstract. It's a bit more complicated and interesting than you relate. They discovered that acacia branches without flowers were less effective than those with flowers in drawing mosquitoes, so they included food dye in the spray to increase the appeal to mosquitos.

Have you read the whole article? do they report any effect on species other than mosquitos?

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 18 Oct 2006 #permalink

Ooh, I read it again, and I'm not sure I interpreted the food dye part correctly. It might have been just a tracer.

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 18 Oct 2006 #permalink

Smart scientists. The sooner mosquitos are dead the better...seems insects of all types are especially attracted to me - something about the way I smell (yes, I take baths).

Eat more garlic.

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 19 Oct 2006 #permalink

When young i used to scratch my skin, mosquito bites, till it bled. For over twenty years i have tested this theory, and found it to be true. i tell people to simply try it. Do not consume any sugar for a day (no sugar at all). Go out at night when mosquitoes are busy, go out at night with others. After a while of watching everyone else getting eaten alive, while you stay mosquito free, place a little sugar in your mouth. Within moments you will be rushing indoors because the mosquitoes will swarm you. Try it and you will loose all doubt. One other thing... when i do get a mosquito bite i use spit and it is gone by morning. Garden work has become comfortable. By the way, i learned this thirty years ago, from a book by George Oshwa (spelling).
joe

When young i used to scratch my skin, mosquito bites, till it bled. For over twenty years i have tested this theory, and found it to be true. i tell people to simply try it. Do not consume any sugar for a day (no sugar at all). Go out at night when mosquitoes are busy, go out at night with others. After a while of watching everyone else getting eaten alive, while you stay mosquito free, place a little sugar in your mouth. Within moments you will be rushing indoors because the mosquitoes will swarm you. Try it and you will loose all doubt. One other thing... when i do get a mosquito bite i use spit and it is gone by morning. Garden work has become comfortable. By the way, i learned this thirty years ago, from a book by George Oshwa (spelling).
joe